Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 37 - Gannets over Popes Eye

Before anybody get too excited, "Popes Eye" is the name of an artificial island off shore from Queenscliff, Victoria.  It's named after one of the navel personnel who was involved in its construction and has no religious overtones at all.

I love visiting the place as you get wonderful views of the colony of Australian Gannets (Morus serrator) that live and breed on the island.  It is (as far as I am told) the only place where gannets of any sort breed on a man made structure at sea level - although I am inclined to think that this sort of "record" has rather too many caveats attached to it!

The Eye is a C shaped artificial reef that was being built as part of the Bays defences, but was overtaken by technology.  Guns were placed on the shore that could fire further, so this place was left to the birds.  The middle of the C is an oasis of calm and allows boats to get close to the birds without disturbing them.

These birds are about the same size as the Gannets (S. bassana) which is found in the Northern Hemisphere.

When these birds flash past and dive for fish there is no need to look further for entertainment.

On my last couple of trips to The Popes Eye I have concentrated some of my efforts on flight shots.








Now its over to you.  Click the link and off you go!


66 comments:

Karen said...

Your efforts have been greatly rewarded. These are exquisite captures!

Rajesh said...

Amazing shots of the bird in the flight.

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Beautiful shots in flight. We rarely see those here.

TexWisGirl said...

such marvelous birds! love their soft, sleek coloring and bill. great shots, stewart! and thanks for hosting - always!

Ken Schneider said...

Your flight shots are tack sharp. I see some are banded/ringed. Researchers must be at work in their unique breeding area.

Esther Joy said...

Beautiful photos! The gannets look like they are smiling!

HansHB said...

A great serie of flight photos!
Well done!

Phil said...

Brilliant shots Stewart - so like our UK Gannets too.

Carletta said...

These are elegant looking birds. Concentrating your efforts on flight shots paid off very well for you - these are wonderful dividends of your patience.
Lovely post Stewart!

EG CameraGirl said...

Concentrating on getting flight shots really paid off! These are wonderful!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh my gosh! The flight shots are breathtaking. And the birds are just beautiful. What a fascinating place as well; you describe it well..I can picture it. Great place for birding.

Thanks for this post and for hosting as always.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

the Gannets are such beautiful soft white looking birds, almost like a water color painting. They look so clean and perfect. I sure get to see a lot of new birds here, makes birding around the world exciting!

i stora drag said...

Such beautiful pictures of a fantastic bird! Love the blue sky too! :)
Greetings Pia

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What extraordinarily beautiful flight shots of these brilliant looking Gannets. I love that touch of peachy/pink colour atop their heads~

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Wow....I have seen these only in photos, and they are amazing...beautifully marked/masked.

As for Popes Eye, thanks for clarifying. :o)

Andrea said...

What beautiful birds ... what wonderful photographs. The lines of these birds are so fine and artistic ... Great set of pictures, Stewart. I would say that concentrating on flight pictures has paid off. You are blessed with so many choices ... places to go, birds to see. I think you should retire and publish a book on the Birds of Australia ... sound like a plan?

Andrea @ From the Sol

Rebecca said...

Great action shots! Thanks for hosting :)

mick said...

Wonderful photos of the gannets. I see them occasionally during the late winter time.

Findlay Wilde said...

Those Gannets are amazing. I watched them diving off Lands End in Cornwall last year. I would have watched them all day if I was allowed. From Findlay

Pam ;) said...

Your efforts to capture these stunning birds in flight payed off big time.
Fantastic shots Stewart.
My thanks for hosting WBW.

Wally Jones said...

Wonderful photographs, Stewart!
And once again you've managed to make me quite jealous. The only Gannets I get to see are about a million miles offshore!
Just for that, I'm posting a woodpecker picture!

Very interesting information about Popes Eye.

Cheers - Wally

Carole M. said...

excellent shots Stewart; you were right amongst them. What a fabulous time you had!

Karen said...

These are really wonderful shots Stewart.

grammie g said...

Hi Stewart...Gorgeous bird,sleek and soft colors and your flight shot's are wonderful !!
I enjoyed your post info!!
Grace

eileeninmd said...

The Gannets have always been a favorite of mine. They are awesome birds, I love their coloring too. I have seen them dive in our Chesapeake Bay. Their are amazing to watch. Great post, Stewart. Happy Birding!

DeniseinVA said...

Fantastic pictures Stewart, and an amazing bird.

My Maine Blog said...

I just found your beautiful blog of birds. What amazing photos of these majestic Gannets. Capturing them in flight is amazing.

DIMI said...

Exellent shots Stewart!Amazing bird!!Great work!!Thank you for sharing!Hope you have a lovely day!
Dimi..

Kerri said...

WOW - these are truly magnificent!!

Becky said...

Excellant in flight shots Stewart!!!

Ebie said...

She is so graceful, the way she flaps her wings!

SandyCarlson said...

Absolutely stunning!

pattisjarrett said...

I'd say you nailed the flight pictures. What a beautiful bird.

Stuart Price said...

Great BIF shots again, shame we have no Gannets in the north Pacific........

TheChieftess said...

Absolutely spectacular Stewart!!! Such a beautiful bird...captured so exquisitely in mid flight...
Wonderful!!!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Beautiful photos. I will be following but I would never manage to get a weekly photo of the birds here so I will appreciate yours. Have a good Easter Diane

Dave said...

Love Gannets Stewart, one of the real photogenic species... its nearly time for me to venture over to the East coast for my Spring fill of them ... great post mate

Hanne Bente said...


Lovely pictures! Hanne Bente

Nancy Claeys said...

Amazing birds - love their soft facial appearance.

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Nice shots- very graceful birds.

She Who Carries Camera said...

Awesome flight series! Lovely, pristine looking bird!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Breathtaking flight pictures - perfect! The Gannet is lovely and full of grace. Thank you for introducing me to yet another type of bird! Interesting location, as well. -Tammy

Revrunner said...

Wonderful! One of these days, I'll join you for Wild Bird Wednesday.

Faye said...

Catching these birds in flight really shows off their subtle markings--especially appreciate that soft gold on their heads. I'll bet you did spend some enjoyable time here, Stewart. Is it a big deal to get to the island?

Richard Pegler said...

Absolutely wonderful images of the Gannets, Stewart. Well done!!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Amazing shots of the bird in flight!
Thanks for hosting.

trav4adventures said...

Beautiful!

Mama Zen said...

Magnificent captures!

CabinGirl said...

Amazing shots, Stewart. I've never seen a Gannett, fascinating birds...

KaHolly said...

Incredible photos of a very beautiful bird!

~~~jennifer~~~ said...

Wow! Beautiful birds! Beautiful shots!

Gillian Olson said...

Gorgeous markings on these birds, great pictures.

dancingaspensfarm said...

Great Captures!

Jesh StG said...

Your pics are incredible!! Now I feel like flying (which I will, in May):)

NatureFootstep said...

I love teh Ganents. They were the reason why I went to Scotland last summer. Saw a lot of them, but not this close. :)

Dominick Hoffler said...

These photos are awesome!

-HankenImports.com

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful birds and photos! I love that little splash of color on the back of their head and neck.

thewovenspoke said...

Stewart, you do beautiful photography love these shots!

SandyCarlson said...

A pure beauty!

BlogBee said...


Nice Blog.. I enjoyed your pictures.

Every Pic is awesome..

Visit my blog http://blog.blogbee.in and

Register and Promote your blog at blogbee to increase blogtraffic.

Here is the link

http://www.blogbee.in/index.php?option=com_users&view=registration

Thanks & Regards
Blogbee Team.

Marie said...

These are really stunning birds, and I think you captured them wonderfully! Sorry to be so infrequent in my participation of Wild Bird Wednesday...hope to go birding soon and maybe I will have a shot or two to share!

Arija said...

Very beautiful flight shots Stewart, hats off to you! Those gannets have such charmingly painted faces, like pelicans. I am always amazed at the variety in God's creatures.

bailey-road.com said...

These are beautiful shots, Stewart!

Fergiemoto said...

These are cool shots! I have not seen this bird before.

Black Jack's Carol said...

I, too, have never seen a gannet and must say that your photographs are spectacular!

Annette said...

These Gannets have recently begun feeding in large numbers 200 metres off shore at Port Melbourne, 25 miles up the Bay from there breeding area. We live in an 18th floor Apt in Melbourne and we can watch the birds diving constantly as the small fish must be around in large numbers.